KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Expectations met

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Winter Meetings ended Wednesday, but the fireworks the gathering of top baseball executives generated weren’t over before the clock struck midnight. The late evening brought reports that Xander Bogaerts is leaving Boston for San Diego. No major leaguers, however, left the KC Royals on Day Four and, save for a minor league Rule 5 Draft selection, no one joined them, either.

And that means free agent starter Zack Greinke, widely expected to re-sign with Kansas City, is still on the market.

So it is that when all was said and done for this year’s Meetings, the Royals met the expectations of those who realized any news Kansas City made wouldn’t be big. Major roster alterations simply weren’t going to happen and spending a lot of money wasn’t in the cards.

General manager J.J. Picollo all but confirmed as much earlier in the week when he seemed to hint that financial constraints were at work, didn’t use the word “big” or say who when he mentioned the Royals’ interest in some pitchers, and spoke of entering the market down the road if his team left the Meetings empty-handed.

Nothing significant for the Royals, then, was expected to mark the last day of this year’s Meetings. In fact, what didn’t happen to the club made more news than what did.

A promising KC Royals prospect is still with the club after the Rule 5 Draft.

What didn’t happen is that no one picked Kansas City prospect Logan Porter in the Rule 5 Draft.

Porter is impressive and capable of helping someone, which renders no one taking him curious. After signing with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent, he hit .314 in his first professional season, .352 in his second, hit 14 homers in High-A in 2021, and slashed .301/.442/.476 with 13 homers in a 2022 season divided between Double-A and Triple-A.

The Royals, however, didn’t put him on their 40-man roster last month, an exclusion that left him unprotected for Wednesday’s Rule 5. Because not one of the clubs with an open 40-man spot took him, however, he still belongs to Kansas City.

For how long is the question. Their actions suggest the Royals don’t think they have a place in the big leagues for him, but Porter is good—he can hit, has some power, his four-season .428 minor league OBP proves he knows his way to the basepaths, and he can catch and play first base. The club could get value for him by packaging him in a deal to acquire that pitching Picollo mentioned this week.

Or they could keep him. History has taught most observers that Ryan O’Hearn, who KC signed again recently, isn’t likely to ever repeat his breakout rookie campaign of 2018 (12 homers, 30 RBIs, a .262/.353/.597 line and 154 OPS+ in 44 games). Porter could be better for the club than O’Hearn.

Or Hunter Dozier. Time will tell where Porter plays next season, but the Royals should think seriously about calling him up at some point.

The KC Royals added one and lost one in the minor league Rule 5 Draft.

What did happen in the Rule 5? Although having no vacancies on their 40-man made the Royals ineligible to make a big league Rule 5 pick, Shervyen Newton joined the organization from Philadelphia via the minor league Rule 5.

Newton becoming a Royal may leave some KC fans scratching their heads. He’s a .234 career minor league hitter whose .298 in Low-A last season looked good until the Mets, who he was then with, promoted him to High-A Brooklyn where he hit .199 in 96 games. He rarely steals but does have some power (12 homers last season).

But he’s also a shortstop, and shortstops are something the Kansas City organization has plenty of.

KC suffered one loss in the minor league Rule 5 when the Yankees selected pitcher Pablo Mujica.

Next. Grading Michael Massey. dark

The 2022 Winter Meetings ended Wednesday.